Are there really 175 languages spoken in and around London?
Find out during this live online chat Nov 8 on language learning and social inclusion.
It’s all part of the Guardian and British Academy’s November language festival: http://www.theguardian.com/language-festival
The cool phrase to use this season to show you are a trendy and knowledgeable TV football announcer is “outside shoulder.” It’s about where to hit the receiver with a pass. Just listen, the announcers are all over it.
Last year, it was “edge,” referring to running around the line.
The year before, it was “in space,” meaning not standing by defensemen.
I don’t know why, but for some reason announcers run in packs on these phrases. I can’t wait until next season.
Here’s a helpful run down of many football clichés: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/quora/what-are-some-examples-of_b_4149561.html?utm_hp_ref=comedy&ir=Comedy
(Left out, however, is the all purpose phrase: “It’s all about the match ups.”)
Stop blaming Congress for being “polarized” or “dysfunctional.” Congress is acting exactly the way you voted for its members to behave. Congress exists to work through conflict. Conflict that actually exists in the country. It’s not Scout camp.
Approximately 20% to 30% of voters hate the idea of Barack Obama being president and they have made their views clear from his first presidential campaign through his second term.
A plea for Congress to “get along” or “act like adults” is a purposeful effort to ignore the reality of America’s historic and continuing racism. Your platitudes aren’t helping. They’re enabling.
Shutting down the government and denying benefits to certain people is not a threat. It is a goal. We are talking about people who expressed their ideas about the legitimacy of the presidency by pushing a birther movement for years on the basis of no evidence. This demographic openly calls for Obama’s impeachment because he is a member of Al Qaeda. He is not “one of us.” See this website for yourself: http://www.teapartynation.com/profiles/blogs/barack-hussein-obama-the-new-leader-of-al-qaeda?xg_source=activity
Pointing a finger at the loosely defined “Tea Party,” however, does not precisely identify the people who hate the US government enough to shut it down. Nor can we dismiss their view by saying they exist in an “echo chamber” of ideas, with the naïve notion that a few facts will change their minds. The issues are deeper.
We can recognize who these people are by the language they use. Here’s the tip-off: they speak in terms of “Makers and Takers.”
This framework, widely used during the 2012 campaign, refers to the idea some Americans “make” and others “take.” US Representative Paul Ryan explains it just fine: Ryan on Makers and Takers
As an economic theory, the concept has been widely debunked (web search it for many examples). Many number-heavy analyses show the distinction just makes no sense. Yet many people hold it dear. One reason it maintains and gains credibility is that it has internal rhyme which makes it seem coherent. (A phenomenon discussed in this blog another day.)
The dearly held idea easily repels economic reality because more is happening. “Makers” means white people. “Takers” means black and brown people. Knowing the code, take a look at Ryan’s speeches again and listen for his fear mongering about who is taking control. Black people are taking over. Already the government, now run by one of them, is shifting resources to lazy non-whites who don’t pay their share of taxes. Guess which health care program represents a major structural social dislocation from Makers to Takers? You may have missed this social movement because you don’t get the code but it is hardly news. Just exactly which “traditional values” has TV cook Paula Deen been celebrating along?
So shutting down the government is actually beneficial, preventing a major collapse of American values — the values of real Americans, they mean. The white ones. Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn), presidential candidate and major spokeswoman for something, calls it “exactly what we wanted.” Listen to some people who actually tell you the shutdown is a good thing: http://www.policymic.com/articles/66021/government-shutdown-8-people-who-are-actually-happy-about-it
Moving past talk of negotiating tactics and specially draw legislative districts, some commentators have come to understand the basis of shutdown intransigence is basically race — a strong strain of American politics.
Norman Ornstein, political researcher at the conservative American Enterprise Institute, said this in a recent interview with Salon: “The bottom line was that it’s the House party and the Southern party, which are the dominant forces out there; they are the ones driving the dialogue. And the fact is that in the House party you’ve got people who come from homogeneous echo chambers in their districts and are concerned, most of them, only about primaries. The Southern party has a very different worldview from the rest of the country, and is not moved by broader national opinion. It is much more overtly hostile to Obama, and I suspect that race is a part of it.
“Almost all of the people from those areas come from districts with at best a trace element of minority voters. If you look, even within the House, at all of those votes where Boehner tried to get bipartisan majorities, the ones at the end of last year and the beginning of this year: the fiscal cliff, Hurricane Sandy, Violence Against Women Act, the ones who voted against him consistently, the vast number of them, were from the South.” See http://www.salon.com/2013/10/10/norm_ornstein_the_south_is_in_charge_in_congress/
So we have a ridiculous movement of a minority of voters following senseless theories that shutdown the government and harm the everyday lives of everybody else.
How did they accomplish that? They work harder. Liberals are just sitting round talking about playing nice. “We just need to learn to get along.”
Southern Congressman happy with the shut down: http://www.advisor.ca/news/economic/hardline-republican-congressman-happy-with-shutdown-132159
Magical thinking about government: http://www.salon.com/2013/10/10/christian_delusions_are_driving_the_gop_insane/
A single word — wrongly applied — can disrupt a marriage or a country, says Thomas Moore, former Catholic monk and now a therapist.
Further: “The bland and bloated language of politics blocks the opportunity for leaders to truly inspire and educate. Imagine hearing instead a thoughtful, measured analysis of the world situation from a leader, accompanied by intelligent, subtle solutions to problems. Instead, we get the tired and unimaginative language of war and militancy. Wars begin with words, so we should be careful how we speak, especially to nations where there is tension. Our words can heal the situation before the military takes up its weapons.”
See the whole post: http://www.resurgence.org/magazine/article3284-the-power-of-language.html
I really like the word “cool.” I use it and so does almost everyone else. It’s been popular for years, outlasting most other “hip” terms for more than 50 years. Hipsters still use it. Business people use it. Four-year-olds use it.
I’m collecting information on the word and will eventually have something original to say.
In the mean time, check this out: http://www.slate.com/articles/life/cool_story/2013/09/the_history_and_future_of_cool_what_does_the_term_mean_in_2013.html
The title is reference to a popular and ground breaking Miles Davis 1957 jazz album “Birth of the Cool”
The ground has been well-trod over the past few years, but here’s an interesting discussion of why “Obamacare” vs. “Affordable Care Act” makes a difference. Charlene Obernauer, democratic activist, notes more polled Americans support one than the other.
More interesting is the Republican Party use of the word “bill” to refer to the three-year-old law. More logical to negotiate a bill than a law.
See her full comment on Huffington Post: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/charlene-obernauer/obamacare-vs-affordable-care-act_b_4044579.html
Banned books week is Sept 22 – 28. The Office of Intellectual Freedom reports 464 challenges in 2012. Here are the 10 Most Unwanted:
- Captain Underpants (series), by Dav Pilkey
Reasons: Offensive language, unsuited for age group
- The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, by Sherman Alexie
Reasons: Offensive language, racism, sexually explicit, unsuited for age group
- Thirteen Reasons Why, by Jay Asher
Reasons: Drugs/alcohol/smoking, sexually explicit, suicide, unsuited for age group
- Fifty Shades of Grey, by E. L. James.
Reasons: Offensive language, sexually explicit
- And Tango Makes Three, by Peter Parnell and Justin Richardson.
Reasons: Homosexuality, unsuited for age group
- The Kite Runner, by Khaled Hosseini.
Reasons: Homosexuality, offensive language, religious viewpoint, sexually explicit
- Looking for Alaska, by John Green.
Reasons: Offensive language, sexually explicit, unsuited for age group
- Scary Stories (series), by Alvin Schwartz
Reasons: Unsuited for age group, violence
- The Glass Castle, by Jeanette Walls
Reasons: Offensive language, sexually explicit
- Beloved, by Toni Morrison
Reasons: Sexually explicit, religious viewpoint, violence
See more: http://www.bannedbooksweek.org/
Words were routinely twisted for political purposes back in her home country of Romania, says writer and diplomat Carmen Firan. But as she eventually discovered, words in America are bent in service of the everyday conversation.
At home: “The words allowed by the dictatorship would take up only two dictionary pages: empty and precious slogans, political jingles, and the like. Artists hid in metaphors; regular folks would whisper and swear. Some would make peace with the system and become megaphones of ideological emptiness; others would assume the loneliness of their own thoughts, awaiting more and more hopelessly, a liberating miracle.”
But as she realized during her diplomatic assignment in New York: “In America, the absolute superlative rules, the need for grandiosity: everything is outsize and aims at eternity. If asked how things are going, people here mindlessly answer: great. In the beginning, the positive American spirit energized me.”
A bit long, this thoughtful essay is definitely worth a complete read.
Much is made of American “exceptionalism,” most recently by Vladimir Putin in his recent opinion piece in the New York Times.
It’s a bit of a fuzzy term, used variously by different commentators. It may apply only to our great expanse of natural resources. Some point to a distinct system of civil liberties and rugged individualism. Others see a religious aspect.
New Yorker writer Hendrik Hertzberg adds a bit of history I did not realize. Let him tell it:
“But there’s a nice wrinkle. Back in 1927, Jay Lovestone, then a bigwig in the Communist Party U.S.A. (and later the guru of the A.F.L.-C.I.O.’s anti-Communist activities abroad), tried to explain to the Comrades in the Kremlin that there were reasons why America was stony ground for Bolshevism. You know, things like the safety valve of the frontier, the siren song of America’s egalitarian civic religion, the relative prosperity of American workers, and the vitality of U.S. capitalism. Lovestone argued that it might be better to try building opportunistic coalitions with “bourgeois” reformers than to go directly to violent revolution and the dictatorship of the proletariat. The Comintern was not pleased. On Stalin’s orders, Lovestone was expelled from the C.P.U.S.A. for what was termed, as translated from the Russian, “the heresy of American exceptionalism.” This was the phrase’s coinage, its first known use.
“’American exceptionalism’ was Moscow’s idea. So quit complaining, Vladimir.”
Not sure how long Hertzberg’s commentary will stay available: